Wage war on fraud and protect your identity. This was the focus when AARP DC, the Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE) Senior Medicare Patrol and the AARP Fraud Watch Network sponsored a free community shred day and fraud forum at the Nativity Catholic Church in northwest DC in Ward 4.
Each year, 13 million people experience the headache and heartache of identity theft, suffering losses of $18 billion. Forty-seven forum attendees heard startling examples of how people are easily taken in by scams from panelists that included Lisa Lake from FTC, Tami Watkins from Pepco and Rosa Maymi from the AARP Fraud Watch Network.
Before, during and after the forum a, community shred event took place in the church parking lot. People drove and walked through to drop off sensitive documents for immediate shredding. Thanks to the support of Shred-It, 27 volunteers and staff from AARP and Mentor Up collected a total of 2,345 pounds of materials that were shredded.
Volunteers have previously assisted AARP DC with its programs. The Mentor Up objective is to encourage younger generations through volunteerism and community service to help people 50+ who are struggling to navigate today’s realities. The AARP and Mentor Up collaboration has been a positive and significant impact on older citizens in the DC area.
Eloise Wahab a participant of the forum said “I’ve learned to protect my identity, my Social Security – don’t just give it out to anybody”.
Jeanette Ivory, a participant, was asked what she learned forum. She replied “It’s a growing problem and they addressed a lot of the issues that people are having.”
To wrap up the fraud forum, Officer B. Khelawan of the Fourth District Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) advised the group of scam trends. Citizens are encouraged to report fraudulent activity to the Metropolitan Police Department Financial Crimes and Fraud Unit (202-727-4159) or call 311 for non-emergency matters.
(Co-written by AARP DC volunteers Rocci Fisch and Debbie Jeffers)